Friday, August 31, 2012

Making Bread with Grandma

Catie who started making bread at 6 a.m.
It seems like only a few weeks ago that Catie Jarvis was driving in from Sicamous with her dad at 6 am.

Tom and Eric were going fishing with Art Treleaven. Catie was coming to my kitchen to make cinnamon buns for breakfast.

So I was taking out my camera this morning because Rhiannon wanted to help make bread.

"I love the taste of dough
At the same time I was thinking, hey, wasn’t I just doing this a few days ago.

However unlike Catie, Rhiannon is as interested in eating the raw dough as she is in learning to knead it.

... "this is the biggest chunk ever" ...
Sometimes she had one hand in the dough, and the other hand taking pieces of it to her mouth.

I was showing her how to do cinnamon buns the Johnson way – done by Nadine, Molly, Terry McBride and others from Aunt Virginia’s recipe.

The last time I was in Barnwell, Virginia was telling me that in the family cook book, the recipe is missing the key ingredient of 2 tablespoons of yeast.

..."I can get it all off with my teeth" ...
Since Mary has the Manna from Heaven cookbook in her collection, I pulled it out and did a pan of buns that traditionally takes a thin layer of icing sugar – and also using the technique of spreading butter and cinnamon on the dough, rolling it up and then cutting it – as well as using a sponge for the first rising.

Whichever method a person chooses, cinnamon buns are always better in Quebec.

Margarine is not sold here.

So Mary and Catherine bring out a pound of butter and put it on the counter when I say that I will make cinnamon buns.

 “Doesn’t the cost of the butter defeat the plan of making something at practically no cost?”, I always think to myself.

However in the tasting, I moved to a new position.

... "resting my right hand in the dough doesn't bother me at all" ...
Cinnamon buns taste better when made with butter.

And perhaps the dough does too, if one can generalize from Rhiannon’s love of the batter, although there is no butter in it.  The butter is saved for the filling and the icing, which must mean the dough has relatively few calories.


Roots and Blues - Three Generations

Landon Hicks
Here is the first of the third generation of Root 'n Blues Concert goers in the Pilling family.

Little Landon was under the weather as you can see from his eyes, so he only enjoyed the mornings at the festival.
Janet Pilling

And here is his grandma.

One of those you can't see is Connor with his "I've been tree planting for 3 months" shoulder length hair cut.

 Nor can you spot David and Shawna walking up and down the isles.

 I looked to see who was dancing just outside of the doors into the bar -- Jeremy and Sarah -- their last time at the festival without a baby, I guess.
Laynie Hicks

And now a look at Connor's mom -- and the baby's great-aunt in her glasses. Good-times being had by all.


Carmen from the Royal Opera House

Xavier, Naomi and I are going to see Carmen on Saturday at our local theatre on Saturday, Sept 1st.

This looks like the same production that we saw last year from the Met -- but this time it is brought to us in 3-D.  How sweet is that!

Added to that, and coming in 3-D on either Sept 5th, 9th and 10th is Madame Butterfly.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

Poster from The Incident of the Curious Dog in the Night-Time
Here is the review from the Guardian's  of what will be the  Thursday, Sept 6th's 7 pm showing of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time in a theatre near you.

And if that review doesn't convince you to go, try this one


Monday, August 27, 2012


... some Jarvis's were in the water ...
The people that used to be the ones in the water, or on the dock, or playing at the stream, or laying on the sand have changed positions.

Now they are sitting on the beach watching another generation do their job of playing in the water, or trying to get the strength to swim around the dock.

... some were on the land ...
Here is Teague, for example, who is resting for a minute -- at the beach.

The only other times I heard him ask for a rest is during the trombone concerts that we have heard this year. "Just a minute, please, while we rest our lips," is a phrase we hear from Tim.

Then someone tells something about the next piece and the music begins.

My favorite so far is a funereal dirge -- really a tune composed when musicians thought they were loosing their symphony jobs -- constructing a melody right up there with the melody in Oliver, when he has to walk behind weeping in a professional funeral mourners procession.
... some were reading their new second handstore books ...

Doral and Anita and their kids had just returned from a Treleaven get to gether at the Abbotsford Air Show.

Equally important to the airshow, it seemed, were the new second hand books Doral had picked up while they were down in Vancouver, books that if you read his blog, you will soon be hearing about.
... some were wearing tattoo's ...

Audra is rarely seen asleep.

Here she couldn't last any longer and collapsed in her dad's arms at the beach.

Hard not to love the decoration on her own arm.
... some were ducking the photographer ...

The water never did get off the ramp while I was there this summer.

 But even in high water, the usual events still took place on the dock -- some diving, a few doing cannon balls, some tubbing, a little fishing for bottom feeders with a string and some dough ... and King of the Dock until someone cries.

In every generation there are people just can't help wanting to rise to the top.

... some were thinking about fishing ...
There were more boats this year than I have seen before.

Four of the sailboats belonged to Glen. Meighan wore her life jacket one afternoon, hoping there would be room for her for a ride.

No luck and so she suited up the next day.

 As she said herself, "It was a short ride." Only a few hundred yards from shore the catamaran went over, the main sailor unable to upright it, and Meighan hanging out in the kayak that went to give them help.
 ... some were tubing ... others were playing King of the Dock ...

And so on this day, the dock was busy.

People were in the water.

Others were hiding under the shade of the tarp on the beach.

A happy day for all.


Roots and Blues - At the Sand Pile

What is pretty fantastic about the festival is the fact that chidren under 12 can go in free with the parents.

And as an added bonus, if they want to get a wrist band, festival ticket takers happily supply one to them.

David's number one festival joy is the sandpile -- 3 feet high, the sides sloping down, and sand that can be moved by many children at the same time.

Oh, maybe he was a little sad when someone stepped on the tunnels and bridges that he had spent an hour creating. 

Shared sandpiles suck that way.
Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson stayed at the festival from sun up to sun down.

 He came with many outfits.

This one is for the middle of the day -- sun hat, sun glasses, and sunscreen.

When he moves over to the mainstage he has his own set of earphones to dampen the sound.
 ..."telling Japanese folk tales" ...
in the 1940's those who bought candy got the front seats

The teller of Japanese folk tales rode a bike past the sand pile, stopping to gather children and parents to the tent next door -- at least those who could put down their shovels to make that move a couple of yards over.

His bike and his stage on the back wheel were beautifully crafted and his story telling trapped children and adults alike.

Kalina Oldham
Kalina can already sing in tune.

And has rhythms to tap far beyond her age. She may look skeptical here -- but really she just gathers information about who is whom and in which family people belong.

There are a lot of second cousins to do that with.

Noella was a first timer at the festival as well.
 I know here from her family's forays out to the lake.

 She is good on the rocks.

She is good on the water.

And it won't be long until she is someone's good friend.

David ran into the people on stilts when he was barely through the gates.

Instead of people in Calypso costuming, they were dressed as stylized horses, complete with fearful movements and whinning -- not the best festival introduction to someone who likes to keep the fear factor close to zero.

And that's it for "at the sandpile".


Roots and Blues, A Family Affair

... Zoe's festival happiness...
By the time we got into the festival we were dragging a little red wagon, 3 festival chairs, a stroller, a cooler and a multitude of bags carrying blankets, hats, water and sunscreen.

When I saw the Bates were close by, we moved positions to be near them and they had extra luggage of their own, including a large cooler with snacks and lunches for all.

I snapped pictures of them while they were eating their treats – fries, for Friesday.

Every Friday is the same menu for Zoe – a menu she looks forward to all week.

Lurene left Kalina at home during the first evening, but had the rest of the crew there and ready for the opening of the festival.

... cooler as Gabe's dining table ...
I watched them check out the Boogie Bar-N Stage where the music must have been better than where we were sitting.

Gabe danced his way back to the food cooler which I was looking after while they were gone.

The road between the stages is kept well watered.

Tall poles hold up hoses from which mist is continually spraying, should anyone want to be cooled down in the intense heat.

Gabe must have seen an empty space and had rhythm in his feet.

... Festival-Lovin' Aunt Lurene ...
He turned sideways and then left foot over right and then right over left, his arms dangling by his side, his feet doubled the rhythm of the band he had been hearing and he gave his own performance of festival happiness in the style of free form dance, until he was danced out.

Then his feet began to walk the trail again with the others.

... still waters run deep, here in Chelsea ...
I also loved hearing his voice behind me with the audience was invited to sing along to “Don’t Stop Believin”.

I could hear Gabe’s clear soprano voice singing the words along with the rest of the audience -- Just a small town girl, / living in a lonely world / Took the midnight train going anywhere / Just a city boy, born and raised in south Detroit/ Took the midnight train going anywhere ...”

Some festival moments are more memorable because the voices behind me are as talented as those on stage.

5Nathaniel knew the words as well, but I was thinking about him knowing that his high school is doing the play to which some other ready is going to have to give a name – the story of office politics – an over-bearing male supervisor who is kidnapped and kept away from work for a week, while the women in the office get things organized without him. At any rate, the male actor in this play wears only his short on stage and does a lot of swearing. Wyona told her grandson that he would be great in the part, except that he would have to swear and he is not really that good at it. So she offered to teach Nathan how to swear with meaning. He ignored her. Wyona was adamant, protesting that she really could help him swear with feeling. He walked out of the room, turning just at the doorway to cast her a withering look and say to her, “What kind of grandmother are you, anyway?”

That will be a hard question to answer.

I am coming down on the side of Mary Ann McMurray who used to tell me that it is better for kids to learn the swear words their parents have selected, rather than the any old ones they will pick up off of the streets.


Roots and Blues

This year marked my third Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival.

I am getting into the routine: buy the early bird festival pass in February; purchase a low festival chair that can be carried as a back-pack; study; pre-study the festival schedule so that I don’t miss any of the good bands; take cash or a credit card in case the vendors have interesting merchandize or I want to get a signed CD from one of the performers; arm myself with a blanket, a large hat to ward off the 30 degree Celsius heat; and  take a warm coat for when the sun sinks behind Mount Ida.

Mount Ida is peak in background
rounded hills in front are lava spill
Glen sat beside me for a few minutes and gave me a forestry talk.

The view looking toward the Main Stage and then behind it, is of the pointed volcanic structure of Mount Ida itself “Look at Mount Ida.

How could a festival have a more beautiful setting? . The hills in front of the peak are the lava that was spewed out during one of its eruptions. Dig down about eight feet through the valley and you will find the layer of ash that was spread during the eruption.”

“Is that layer even out at our house?”, I asked.

“Yes,” said Glen, looking back again toward Mount Ida, now changing the subject admiring the wisps of clouds in the blue, blue sky.

... evening begins to fall ...
While Glen and I were in silent thought looking toward the south, the performers look toward the north and say nothing of the view we are seeing. Instead they are rapturous about the view in the other diretion, toward the mountains that surround the lake. Cold Specks, a gutsy Ontario singer, with a rough-edged dark, velvety gospel voice, said it best. “I have been on the road for three weeks across Canada and there is no view like the one I am seeing tonight.”

Amongst a plethora of blues and jazz styles and combos, she is the one who stepped up to the mike with no instruments – not behind her or in her arms. She took the boldest of performance chances, introducing us to her voice a capella, letting the rhythms and style speak for themselves. I hung on the sound of her notes and the perfect articulation of every word.

The competition for “wasn’t that the best band ever” award was stiff. Five Alarm Funk are full of delirious dance moves and head banging action. A crazy group that give new meaning to post-modernism in music. I take my chair to the CBC Blues Stage and only move change positions when I need to walk or find some food. Each year I decide that next year, I am going to get up and dance in the pit with all of the other flower-power children of my generation. But this was not that year. There is just an edge to propriety for those over 70 that I can’t let go of yet.

I am going to list my personal favorites of the festival: Coco Montoya (USA), the Boogie Patrol (AB) – jamming with 2 other bands, Hazmat Modine (NY), Bettye LaVette (USA) and Kirby Sewell Band (AB). Hard to believe I live in Calgary and haven’t heard Sewell’s interpretive blues voice before. Well, hard to realize until I remember I may live in Calgary, but I don’t come home much anymore. If I change that pattern this winter, I hope to hear the Sewell group at the High Performance Rodeo in January, or wherever they make their local appearances.

I missed one of the bands that Bonnie Wyora loved the most.
me ... trying to figure out which bands I missed while alseep

In a 12 hour day at the festival, there comes a point where I can lay on the grass and be sound asleep, or as Bonnie Wyora wondered, “Has she had a stroke, and if so, I will tend to her after the current band stops – they are just too good to be interrupted.” Ah yes, Blues Festivals – while the sound may be perfect from the disk in the comfort of your own home, the immediacy of the live performances is also paralyzing to the listener, both those asleep and those awake.


The Fifth Annual Pig Roast

Hebe learning to love the water.
My personal highlight of the 5th Annual Pig Roast happened when the pig had been eaten.

Laynie brought out her water balloons for our after dinner entertainment, and the balloons were soon lobbed from the grass below, up over the second level railing and began to splatter with direct hits on casual diners, or to be re-lobbed by them if they were still unbroken. Catherine claims the one she threw was meant for her father, but I was the one who looked up upon finding myself soaked -- only to see her laughing face.

The person who was not laughing was little Hebe, who was in the bedroom crying her eyes out. Bonnie Wyora and others went in to see if they could calm her down, but it was not the high energy of the water fight that was bothering her. She said she was crying because she didn’t know how to get in on the water fight.

 ...unabashed delight and no water fear ...
Wyona had her by the hand and out onto the porch before others could even process the information, picking up still filled balloons and showing her how to throw them at people. The nature of the game changed. Seasoned water-fighters stool still to let Hebe use them as targets. And when Hebe got the idea that using water filled balloons was good, imagine her joy as being shown how to use the house that was laying on the deck, still hooked up.

 ... Hebe's water-fighting siblings and cousins ...
The fun might have been seeing Wyona teach Hebe how to put her finger in the nozzle to get a fine spray pointed on someone else.

The screams of cousins willing to stand still long enough so that she could hit them were as loud as if they had been real.

Water-fight initiatory rites  -- fantastic for the young and the old!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My first trip to Australia (Noosa, on the Sunshine Coast)

view from my balcony at the Sheraton, Noosa
I left Victoria on the 9pm flight, Monday night, and arrived here in Noosa around 2pm on Wednesday. A bit of a haul to get here, but.... well.... what do you think of the view from the balcony of my room? It is a most pleasant 24 degrees celcius.  I just don't know whether to head for the pool, or head for the sandy beach in the background? (or, to stay here in the room and finish my paper?) Suggestions? :-)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Beach Walk in a Storm

Hebe and Catherine out in a storm.

I love the summer storms.

 I am not the only one.

Teague was reminiscing about the days when seeing the white caps coming in from Seymour Arm meant a person should run for their swimming suit and towel and get to the beach.

In my mind, when the sky darkens it is time to get home -- at least if a person is travelling the beach with little children.
Two of the summer storms have taken down huge limbs from my clump birth in the meadow.

The sticks that snapped off were so heavy that I couldn't carry them away.

Teaque helped me one day.

Gabe helped me pull more logs away from the path the next day.

 "I know these birches have completed their life cycles," I said to Glen. "But I am nervous about the danger they seem to be in a storm."

"Just don't go out and stand under one when the winds are whipping through," he replied.


Log Rolling

Of all of the docks and debris that have come ashore, one of the most interesting pieces is a lovely bench: two logs to which a horizontal log has been bolted, making a fine bench -- almost immoveable because of its weight.

Teague and Greg salvaged that piece of furniture.
Glen dragged home a long long after one of his boat outings.

He dropped it off on shore, promising that it would be a lot of fun.
Catherine became the Dock Master.

She used David Camps or Dalton Johnson to help steady the other end of the log.

They were her partners as she gave everyone a chance to try log rolling.

Some of the cousins were more adventurous than others, trying again and again to find their balance and then roll with the log as it shifted in the water.
I congratulated her on her water stamina.

"Are you kidding," she said.

 "Between yesterday and today there is nothing on my body that doesn't ache from the log-rolling. My neck, my shoulders, along my inner arms -- the pain of the joy of log-rolling is with me."

Around the edges of the beach, Joan and Michael splashed in the water.

We did have a babyland when the Woods would come down to the beach -- four little ones under a year laying under 3 strategically placed umbrellas.
Any one want to take my second paddle and come along?

Some kids were out on the paddle wheeler.

Others slide along the water in the red canoe.

Catie liked the kayak.

Choices for all.


Friendship Bracelets

It doesn't seem that long ago that we would sit down all of the girls from Rebecca to Amanda, get some huck weaving cloth and have everyone cross-stitch or embroider on raining days.

Now those girls have families of their own.
But the embroidery floss is still at the lake, carefully tucked into baggies and sewn together into a book so that each colour is distinct and separate.

Meighan and Ceilidh came home from the Abbottsford Airshow with friendship bracelets on their wrists and with the skill to make one of their own.
Thus, a lovely afternoon was spent under the porch, the floss pinned to either the thigh of their jeans or onto a high-legged stool.

All hail embroidery floss.


Catherine's Vacation Update

What a vacation

Fun with our cousins.

Perfect weather.

Beach every day.


Cinnamon buns, fresh bread, ice cream, peaches and whip cream on waffles.

 Pig roast, wiener roast, marshmallow roast

Magical umbrellas, storms, beach walks, "unexpected" adventures, Wii, and on and on.

A huge thank you to Uncle David for making the day of tubing possible for the kids.

We have watched the photos of the week numerous times and the kids are still talking about it.

 It was probably their favorite vacation ever.

Thanks to all of you for making it so.

I have been reviewing the photos from the pig roast and am hoping that Moiya will send us her recipe for the Asian noodle salad.


Back to life!